End of Life Choice Bill passes second reading 70-50

End of Life Choice Bill passed its second reading last night in Parliament last night, by 70 votes to 50.

That is a comfortable margin, but it doesn’t mean that the euthanasia bill is a done deal. It will now proceed to the third reading, and a lot of Supplementary Order Papers will be debated on and voted on before we know what the final form of the Bill will look like. Then Parliament will make it’s final vote for or against.

NZ First are pushing for the final choice to go to a referendum to be run at the same time as next year’s general election. Whether that will happen is yet to be decided.

There are some strong views and emotional feelings on this issue on both sides of the debate. Unfortunately there are also some outlandish claims being made.

I think the key thing in this is Choice.

I personally would like that choice, if I was ever in a situation of terminal illness.

I understand that others feel strongly against euthanasia. I hope the End of Life Choice Bill will allow them to opt out, while giving choice to chose who want it, with sufficient safeguards.

Parliament has to decide whether to give a legal end of life choice to people.

NZ Herald has a list of How your MP voted on the End of Life Choice Bill

* Denotes MPs who have changed their vote since the first reading


  • Amy Adams – National – Selwyn
  • Ginny Andersen – Labour – List
  • Jacinda Ardern – Labour – Mt Albert
  • Darroch Ball – NZ First – List
  • Paula Bennett – National – Upper Harbour
  • Chris Bishop – National – Hutt South
  • Tamati Coffey – Labour – Waiariki
  • Judith Collins* – National – Papakura
  • Liz Craig – Labour – List
  • Clare Curran – Labour – Dunedin South
  • Marama Davidson – Green – List
  • Kelvin Davis – Labour – Te Tai Tokerau
  • Matt Doocey – National – Waimakariri
  • Ruth Dyson – Labour – Port Hills
  • Paul Eagle – Labour – Rongotai
  • Kris Faafoi – Labour – Mana
  • Andrew Falloon – National – Rangitata
  • Julie Anne Genter – Green – List
  • Golriz Ghahraman – Green –List
  • Peeni Henare – Labour – Tamaki Makaurau
  • Chris Hipkins – Labour – Rimutaka
  • Brett Hudson – National – List
  • Gareth Hughes – Green – List
  • Raymod Huo – Labour – List
  • Willie Jackson – Labour – List
  • Shane Jones – NZ First – List
  • Nikki Kaye – National – Auckland Central
  • Matt King – National – Northland
  • Barbara Kuriger – National – Taranaki-King Country
  • Iain Lees-Galloway – Labour – Palmerston North
  • Andrew Little – Labour – List
  • Jan Logie – Green – List
  • Marja Lubeck – Labour – List
  • Jo Luxton – Labour – List
  • Nanaia Mahuta – Labour – Hauraki-Waikato
  • Trevor Mallard – Labour – List
  • Jenny Marcroft – NZ First – List
  • Ron Mark – NZ First – List
  • Tracey Martin – NZ First – List
  • Kieran McAnulty – Labour – List
  • Clayton Mitchell – NZ First – List
  • Mark Mitchell – National – Rodney
  • Stuart Nash – Labour – Napier
  • Greg O’Connor – Labour – Ohariu
  • David Parker – Labour – List
  • Mark Patterson – NZ First – List
  • Winston Peters – NZ First – List
  • Willow-Jean Prime – Labour – List
  • Priyanca Radhakrishnan – Labour – List
  • Grant Robertson – Labour – Wellington Central
  • Jami-Lee Ross – Independent – Botany
  • Eugenie Sage – Green – List
  • Carmel Sepuloni – Labour – Kelston
  • David Seymour – Act – Epsom
  • James Shaw – Green – List
  • Scott Simpson – National – Coromandel
  • Stuart Smith – National – Kaikoura
  • Erica Stanford – National – East Coast Bays
  • Chloe Swarbrick – Green – List
  • Fletcher Tabuteau – NZ First – List
  • Jan Tinetti – Labour – List
  • Tim van de Molen – National – Waikato
  • Louisa Wall – Labour – Manurewa
  • Angie Warren-Clark – Labour – List
  • Duncan Webb – Labour – Christchurch Central
  • Poto Williams* – Labour – Christchurch East
  • Nicola Willis – National – List
  • Megan Woods – Labour – Wigram
  • Jian Yang – National – List
  • Lawrence Yule* – National- Tukituki


  • Kiritapu Allan*- Labour – List
  • Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi – National – List
  • Maggie Barry – National – North Shore
  • Andrew Bayly – National – Hunua
  • David Bennett – National – Hamilton East
  • Dan Bidois – National – Northcote
  • Simon Bridges – National – Tauranga
  • Simeon Brown – National – Pakuranga
  • Gerry Brownlee – National – Ilam
  • David Carter – National – List
  • David Clark – Labour – Dunedin North
  • Jacquie Dean – National – Waitaki
  • Sarah Dowie – National – Invercargill
  • Paulo Garcia – National – List
  • Paul Goldsmith – National – List
  • Nathan Guy* – National – Otaki
  • Joanne Hayes – National – List
  • Harete Hipango* – National – Whanganui
  • Anahila Kanongata’aSuisuiki – Labour – List
  • Denise Lee – National – List
  • Melissa Lee – National – List
  • Agnes Loheni – National – List
  • Tim Macindoe – National – Hamilton West
  • Todd McClay – National – Rotorua
  • Ian McKelvie – National – Rangitikei
  • Todd Muller – National – Bay of Plenty
  • Alfred Ngaro – National – List
  • Damien O’Connor – Labour – West Coast
  • Simon O’Connor – National – Tamaki
  • Parmjeet Parmar – National – List
  • Chris Penk – National – Helensville
  • Maureen Pugh – National – List
  • Shane Reti – National – Whangarei
  • Adrian Rurawhe* – Labour – Te Tai Hauauru
  • Deborah Russell* – Labour – New Lynn
  • Jenny Salesa – Labour – Manukau East
  • Alastair Scott – National – Wairarapa
  • Aupito William Sio – Labour – Mangere
  • Nick Smith – National – Nelson
  • Jamie Strange – Labour – List
  • Rino Tirakatene – Labour – List
  • Anne Tolley* – National – East Coast
  • Phil Twyford – Labour – Te Atatu
  • Louise Upston – National – Taupo
  • Nicky Wagner – National – List
  • Hamish Walker* – National – Clutha-Southland
  • Meka Whaitiri* – Labour – Ikaroa Rawhiti
  • Michael Wood* – Labour – Mt Roskill
  • Michael Woodhouse – National – List
  • Jonathan Young – National – New Plymouth

GCSB Bill 2nd reading – David Shearer


Second Reading

DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition):

Labour opposes this Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill.

We oppose it not because we do not accept that there are serious problems with our intelligence agencies, and not because we do not think that changes in law are not necessary, but because the Prime Minister, who is responsible for our intelligence agencies, has simply not made the case for why we need to ram through this legislation so quickly without taking a proper look at the critical issues right across our intelligence agencies—not just with the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) but right across the intelligence network.

I asked John Key whether he had any evidence that New Zealand would be more at risk if this legislation was not passed through, and he simply could not make that case.

He also could not explain why, if changes are so urgent, he did not act a year ago when he found out the problems and put urgent legislation through then.

This bill has been rushed and it has been poorly informed. The Prime Minister denied my request for the Intelligence and Security Committee to hear the SIS, the defence forces, and the police about how they were going to fit with the GCSB and why they needed the GCSB’s support as they had described. He turned that down, and he did so because he did not want to take a closer look at what the problems really are.

He wants this off the political agenda, and that is the scenario we are looking at. He knows that people do not believe his explanations. New Zealanders do not believe his explanations. They are losing trust in his oversight, and they do not believe that he is passing the law for the right reasons.

He wants the spying scandal to just go away, but it simply will not go away. The tragedy of this is that it is a missed opportunity for New Zealand. It is an opportunity we could have had to pass legislation that would restore Kiwis’ confidence in our intelligence agencies so that people know we are operating in their best interests and that we have got the balance right between security on the one hand and their privacy on the other.

That is why Labour has argued we need a full and independent inquiry across our intelligence community before we put legislation in front of this House.

New Zealanders’ confidence has been shattered by the recent events in our intelligence agency. It has been a complete train wreck. We have seen a litany of failures—the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) illegally spying on Dotcom.

And remember we would not be here putting this legislation through if it had not been for Dotcom and the fact that Bill English was trying to hide the illegal spying by the GCSB on Dotcom from the courts. That is a fact.

We then found out there is illegal spying on many other New Zealanders. We then find out that John Key has shoulder-tapped a mate of his to become the head of the GCSB. Now we have heard in this past week that a New Zealand journalist was spied on and tracked in Afghanistan, and our agencies were complicit in that.

Now we have got officials tapping into journalists’ phone records right here in our Parliament. The GCSB, of course, was involved in that too.

The Henry report actually states that they had a “substantial role”, particularly in the gathering of records. But, of course, John Key says it is nothing to do with him—nothing to see here, nothing to be worried about. It is the Parliamentary Service’s problem. It is David Henry’s problem. It is somebody in the GCSB’s problem. It is the legal adviser’s problem. It is somebody who had a brain fade’s problem in the GCSB.

Through all of these scandals John Key has been trying to pass the blame on to somebody else. When he does get caught out, we have to drag the truth out of him.

Well, I say to Mr Key it is time to stop making excuses. A serious mistake has been made. Stop blaming others and start taking some responsibility for the actions of the agencies that you lead.

Today was astonishing. Mr Key took the opportunity on breakfast radio to announce that there is the existence of al-Qaeda threats. This was, I believe, reprehensible.

We have seen the pattern before: weapons of mass destruction. We have seen the Boston bombings brought into the debate around the GCSB bill. But in this case there is no context, there is no detail, and there is no ability for him to give context or detail.

He is using his privileged position as the head of our spy agencies to give himself political gain. That is reprehensible. His scaremongering is designed to shift attention away from the facts of the case and the train wreck that is this bill and what is around it.

But here is the second thing that I find so astonishing about the Prime Minister coming out and saying something like this: it is incredibly stupid. It is incredibly stupid. Why do you not send a postcard to people who are threatening us, saying: “We’re spying on you.” It is incredibly dumb. This is not “Boys’ Own”. This is serious.

I have spent 7 years in the Middle East alongside people who have let off bombs, and my family was in a hotel where a bomb went off and killed 40 people. So does that make us feel safer—that somehow he could announce to everybody that these people are going to be spied on? Well, I think it is extraordinary.

Apart from anything else, we actually have agencies, our intelligence agencies, working on it. Those intelligence agencies are actually doing a pretty good job. They do not need to have their activities dragged into the public arena for a man’s political gain in order to help them with their jobs. In fact, they have definitely just had their jobs hampered as a result of that.

New Zealanders want to be able to trust our intelligence agencies again and to know that they are doing good work and they are properly policed, but that will not happen when all the power continues to rest in one person, unlike in any of the other countries that we are close to.

The Prime Minister appoints our top spy and he heads up the committee that provides the oversight, so he is in charge of operations and he is also in charge of oversight. He chairs that committee. On top of that he has the casting vote. He appoints the inspector-general and the commissioner of warrants.

Let us just go back again to where we started with this. It was about Dotcom. The only reason we got to hear about that was because Mr Dotcom revealed it in court. Otherwise, we would not have heard anything—we would not have heard anything.

We are setting up a system designed for cover-ups. We are setting up a system that simply will not work. The real shame about this is that we could have had a much better system.

In fact, I would go as far as this. I went and saw Mr Key. I said: “We’re prepared to work with you.” He said: “Doesn’t matter. We’ve got Mr Dunne. We’re chucking a bit of stuff at Dunne, and he’ll get across the line, and we won’t need you both.”

That is the extent of the negotiations with this side—no phone calls, no approaches, no nothing. I will say right now that Labour will work with the Government on an independent inquiry with terms of reference that can be agreed right across Parliament, and that we will work with you to get good law that will provide the confidence that New Zealanders need in order for our intelligence agencies to function in the proper way. Thank you.

GCSB Bill 2nd reading – Chris Finlayson


Second Reading

Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (Attorney-General) on behalf of the Minister responsible for the GCSB:

I move, That the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill be now read a second time. There has been a great deal of scrutiny and debate over this Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill. There has been a lot of uninformed commentary.

There have been a number of examples of the great and the good, the well meaning but impressionable being misled by ill-founded fearmongering.

So, at the outset, let me make it quite clear: this legislation is not a revolution in the way New Zealand conducts its intelligence operations and national security. It is not a case of expanding the borders of some intelligence empire. This is about fixing legislation that at its best is not fit for purpose and, at worst, is broken.

Under this bill, New Zealanders can be confident that our intelligence agencies are acting in accordance with the rule of law.

The bill sets out definitively what it is our intelligence agency can and cannot do under the law. There are no grey areas. There are no loopholes. This is very important because of the status of national security in a democratic society. National security is vital for maintaining the freedoms and the way of life that we hold dear.

It is vital for keeping us safe and free from harm. But national security tools, if turned inwards and not subject to strict controls, can erode that way of life and threaten the freedom of individuals. National security legislation must not have loopholes that can be exploited by those who would threaten our security, who would threaten loss of life through terrorism or criminal activity.

But, equally, national security legislation must not have grey areas of uncertainty or doubtful interpretation that allow the State gradually to extend its activities and creep into ordinary people’s private lives like some kind of growing shadow.

The bill strikes the right balance. It makes amendments to three Acts, with the three main objectives being to clarify what the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) can and cannot do, to update the legal framework in response to the changing security environment, and to strengthen the oversight of our intelligence agencies.

Labour’s 2003 Government Communications Security Bureau Act sought to codify and make transparent existing practices of the then Government Communications Security Bureau. It failed. The Kitteridge report found that the 2003 legislation is not, and probably never was, fit for purpose.

The bureau currently has three core functions: cyber-security and information assurance, foreign intelligence, and cooperation and assistance to other entities. Those three functions are retained under this legislation.

For an organisation possessing the powers the GCSB does, an unclear legal framework is simply unacceptable, so the relationship between these three functions has been set out in much more explicit terms than in the existing legislation. Between 2003 and 2011 there were 88 instances of surveillance that highlighted difficulties of interpretation.

There is a grey area in the current law, and it arises because of a lack of clarity over the legitimate activities of the GCSB of those three different functions. That grey area disappears under this legislation.

On the matter of assistance and cooperation, Labour’s 2003 Act said that the GCSB could assist other public agencies in New Zealand in the performance of their functions and also to prevent and detect serious crime.

It authorised explicitly the surveillance of foreign organisations and individuals to obtain foreign intelligence—organisations and individuals who in some cases may make contact with New Zealand citizens and residents.

But the law also said, in apparent contradiction, that the GCSB must not intercept the communications of New Zealand citizens or permanent residents. In hindsight, this was a recipe for confusion.

Parliament had intended something straightforward, that the GCSB should target foreign nationals only when gathering intelligence under its second function, and, in addition, the GCSB should also be available to assist agencies such as the police and the SIS in their legitimate and warranted domestic activities.

But the wording was contradictory and unclear. The GCSB acted according to its internal advice, to fill this grey area. That advice was in keeping with the intention of those who passed the Government Communications Security Bureau Act in 2003, but it may or may not have been justified by the words of the statute itself.

Ambiguous law that leads to secluded decision-making on a case by case basis is unsatisfactory, so we are taking these steps to overhaul the legislation and make it fit for its original purpose.

The responsible thing for this Parliament to do is to clarify the Act to specify which agencies the GCSB may assist, and to what extent, and to remove ambiguity and increase oversight from outside the agency.

The question of oversight is a very important one generally, not only in relation to the GCSB. Former GCSB head Sir Bruce Ferguson recently implied that he wished there had been greater oversight of orders he issued as head of the Defence Force, classifying some journalists as subversives.

This week he acknowledged that he had never thought of journalists as the enemy, and expressed his disappointment that no one had since overturned the orders he could not remember making. It is a reminder that memory can fail us.

Some commentators, including Sir Bruce, have opined that the questions around the GCSB represent something new about the way intelligence operates in this country. That is simply untrue.

The problems of drafting and legislative interpretation date back to the passage of Helen Clark’s 2003 legislation.

This bill is not revolutionary. It is not an aggressive expansion of State powers. Its purpose is to provide concrete rules that leave less room for uncertainty. This is evident from the treatment of metadata in the bill. There has been much talk of metadata recently. It has become something of a buzzword.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: This is quite sad. This is quite sad.

Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: But there is no magic in metadata, I say to Mr Peters. In this bill, metadata is treated as any other communication.

This bill authorises the interception of certain communications. Communication does not differentiate between data and metadata for the reason pointed out by a number of submitters: we do not have a clear definition of metadata.

The type and number of ways in which data can be described and indexed—that is, the categories of metadata—are growing all the time. If we included a definition, then we would risk leaving loopholes as new technologies emerge or new business systems are developed.

We do not want loopholes that expose New Zealanders to unnecessary risks because our legislation cannot keep up with technology. Nor do we want amorphous gaps in the legislation that could allow agencies to exceed the powers intended for them, by incrementally extending definitions by analogy.

This bill takes into account national security and privacy. The issue is not national security or privacy; it is both. National security is about protecting our citizens and the rights and the freedoms we value. The legislation is sensitive to those rights and freedoms.

In conclusion, the bill has been subject to extensive discussion and debate, which on occasion have obscured this very important issue.

The bill before us today incorporates 19 recommendations endorsed by the Intelligence and Security Committee—and it is important to say that they reflect public submissions—and there will be further changes, which have been flagged publicly, in a Supplementary Order Paper.

As I say, this bill does not represent an extension of powers but a clarification. I commend the bill to the House.